This story is in a class by itself. Aside from it, nothing remotely resembling a history has emerged from the Pioneer days of gospel preaching in Oregon, Washington or Idaho. This is far from a history book, being the recollections of one preacher during his final year on earth, but it is a beginning.
The Reminiscences of Mac Waller were published in serial form in the Christian Standard during the Spring of 1893. We have reproduced them here from the original microfilms made available through the courtesy of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society. The typing work has been done by April Rodda.
We have omitted some of the lengthy doctrinal discussions and Indian experiences contained in the original edition. Some, but not all, of the spelling errors have been corrected. The document was originally handwritten and was misread by the typesetters. We have allowed some spelling and grammatical errors to remain and added editorial notes following known historical errors.
Hugh McNary Waller settled at Albany for about a year in 1887 and helped the church get into its first building. He returned there for his final years. G. M. Weimer, the author, was minister of the Albany First Christian Church from 1892 - 1894. Mac Waller died while this series was running in the Standard.
The series begins February 4th, 1893. -- Charles Dailey
The subject of this brief biography lives with us here in Albany, Oregon. In his own home, with his daughter Ida as housekeeper, he is patiently waiting the summons to the "other shore." He has not been in the active ministry for some four years, but preaches funeral discourses, and "supplies" occasionally. Physical ailment (heart trouble) keeps him at home most of the time, and permits him to attend church services only in the morning. It is ever an inspiration to see him in that front pew as interested in the gospel message and as eager to hear a sinner confess Christ as when he was younger.
Elder Waller has been in the active ministry about fifty-five years, and is, I believe, the oldest evangelist on the Pacific Slope. While living in Illinois he was among that generation "endowed by the Almighty Ruler with the especial mission . . . to bring out of obscurity, and restore to its original place, the lost sight of truth or principle" -the exaltation of "Christ above party, and his Word above human creeds."
He believes, with all his heart, that the Church of Christ is, under God, called to the great task of unearthing the New Testament teaching and leading the "religious world back from the traditions of men to 'the law and testimony.'" And as soon as he crossed the Rocky Mountains, he became the leader in this mighty plea, the return to the Bible, the exaltation of Christ, and the "practice of the Apostolic Church in simplicity of worship."
Some day a history of the Church of Christ will be written for our Western country. We give this biography very largely without dates, as Elder Waller never kept a diary. The whole work, save two or three dates, is given from memory. I have written these memoirs in the midst of preaching and pastoral work. Then, without the aid of a stenographer, I have taken notes only, and these have been written from memory.
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